Leadership, An Introduction 
What makes a leader? 

In this introduction I will pay attention to my vision on leadership.

General Leadership Skills

A leader is only a leader when he influences people to work on goals which where not always worth pursuing for them before. A leader is somebody who in advance does not use his power to force his goals to be achieved. He has vision and the skill of convincing by which he is able to get his message understood at all levels of an organization. He is social, and he can inspire people.
The general leadership skills concerned with this all are:

Analytical capabilities

Convincing capabilities

Social and emotional capabilities

Enthusing/inspiring capabilities

Professional Knowledge

In the former capabilities there can't be find a surprising definition of leadership, I guess. But, there is another quality that makes someone a leader. That quality makes leadership a situational capability, in the sense that a leader can't be a (great) leader everywhere and in all circumstances. The quality meant is based on the knowledge and experience in a business sector. If a leader lacks this kind of professional knowledge his vision will have little worth. People distrust leaders who don't know there profession. And right they are. He who doesn't know the sector in which his organization works and the environment in which it is active simply doesn't know enough to head into new directions in a convincible way. If workers follow a "leader" like that they won't do that by there own conviction, but simply while they stand in awe for power and authority because they are afraid of losing their own position.

Universal Management?

Managers may think that management is a profession itself. And, of course, it is in a certain way. Management has its own body of knowledge. A manager needs certain knowledge and management skills to practice his job.
Managers think they can practice their skills in whatever other business. Here we need some humbleness.
The manager that storms in when starting a new job in a new business must absolutely be distrusted. He needs an extraordinary skill for processing data to make it possible for him in a very short time to learn the firm, its environment and the sector enough and by that to convince other people of his hunt for chance.
If there are people who can make this come true, well, they are rare!

Management and Leadership

A leader is a leader while his people recognize his legitimacy. A leader is a leader because he is acknowledged as such by his people!

Not every manager is a leader. Not every manager has to be. There are enough management functions where work is all about control and consolidation of the existing situation. Change is sometimes hardly necessary.
Not every manager has to be a great leader. Many managers conduct to much as such. They bring useless change everywhere, are very satisfied about themselves, but aren't working well at all. They waste their energy doing things which aren't important after all.

Essentials of Leadership

In the literature it is sometimes suggested that workers ask for charismatic leaders. However something vague as charisma will help a leader without doubt, the concept charisma makes things not more clearly. A leader is not a leader by his charisma but by a combination of capabilities. Knowledge of the profession and sector is a quality rarely or never called in management literature while it is an essential quality as well as all the others.

The Leadership Site

This web site is on leadership. The Dutch pages grow and grow. Unfortunately my time is limited. Just a fraction of the Dutch content is translated. 

This site contains a test to test your own leadership capabilities and (even more fun?) another one to test the leadership skills of your boss.

I hope to translate some other stuff in due time. 

Other articles

Leadership Schematized. About the way leadership works.


Copyright 2001- 2015 Peter Markensteijn. Alle rechten voorbehouden/All rights reserved.
Herzien/Revised: 20 juli 2009